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Outnumbered but Undaunted

Let’s take a moment to pay reverence to these brave hearted Policemen: Inspector Kartar Singh, 1st Class L/Cpl....

INSPIRING STORIES OF BRAVERY DURING THE MALAYAN EMERGENCY

Death holds no fear for us.

Their heroism remains little known.

Inspiring Stories of outstanding Bravery & Devotion to duty by Sikh Policemen during the Malayan Emergency. As their stories remind us and some of the photographs show us there were gallant men from every 'Bangsa' !

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POLICE RECRUITS ARE BEING TRAINED ON STEN-GUN.                                                                                   

Three Police recruits from the Police Depot, Kuala Lumpur are undergoing training under the supervision of an instructor. Circa 1946. Courtesy of National Archives.

There are so many stories and instances that proved the intrepidity of these brave men. And therefore, with this article, We can never thank them enough for what they have done for us, but we can at least take a moment and remember these brave hearts and their contribution towards the country’s tranquility. let’s take a moment to salute these brave men for their esteemed contributions towards the country.

In the colossal task of wiping out the terrorist, perhaps none played a more vital role, or acquitted themselves so well as these members from the Federation of Malaya Police Force. The army and the police both performed magnificently, fighting side-by-side in many cases. One knows that for every soldier who was killed, two policemen died. Through twelve long and difficult years (1948~1960) of bitter struggle, the body of dedicated men proved they were equal to the challenge. 

Sikh Policemen have exhibited courage on every field and shown unflinching devotion to duty in the face of daunting odds. Their devotion to duty and their splendid loyalty to their orders and to their leaders make a record their nation should look upon with pride for many generations..

Courage & Devotion

July 12th, 1949, Rawang, Selangor:-

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Inspector Kartar Singh 

Photo courtesy of Professor (DR.) Manjit Singh Sidhu

On 12th July 1949, Inspector Kartar Singh   was leading his jungle squad up a hill west of Bukit Munchong Estate a few miles North of Rawang (Selangor). He and his jungle squad were carrying out their second police operation for the day. They were ambushed by communist terrorists from a very close range who outnumbered them by about seven to one. Outgunned and surrounded, Inspector Kartar Singh chose to preserve their honor rather than surrender.

He and his men put up a brave fight against the raiders and refused to surrender until their ammunition ran out. During the intense firefight, Inspector Kartar Singh No. I/530, (Mehna) aged 30, Sergeant Sher Mohr (Mansian Bajein, Ludhiana) aged 41, 1st class L/Cpl. Tara Singh (Sangarpura) aged 30, P/C Mehar Singh (Parian Village) aged 23, P/C Mukand Singh (Ferozepur) aged 23, P/C Ajaib Singh (Hollomajra, Ambala) aged 24, P/C Mahinder Singh (Mansia Bhai Ka, Ludhiana) aged 25 & P/C Ali Bin Lana aged 21 were  killed in the ambush. 

Inspector Kartar Singh and his men were killed by multiple shots of Bren gun fire; their bodies were mutilated by the communists.

Two others have been wounded and the remnants of the squad broke off the battle and dispersed to the jungle. Two of the policemen went to the Bukit Munchong Estate and phoned Rawang police for backup. The bandits had fled before the backup arrived. Taking with them guns of the dead policemen. 

1st Class L/Cpl. Tara Singh PC 2612 was awarded the Colonial Police Medal for gallantry on 9th November 1948. He fought off an ambush during a jungle patrol although completely exposed to the enemy's fire, he returned it with such accuracy, and killed a communist terrorist on 29th September 1948 in Rawang forest reserve.

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1st Class L/Cpl. Tara Singh

Courage & Initiative.

June 22nd, 1950, Ipoh, Perak:-

On the night of June 22nd, 1950 A party of four policemen under the command of Lance Corporal Jagir Singh left from the New Town Police Station, Ipoh to proceed on a mobile patrol on the Pasir Puteh Road, Ipoh.

The police party was ambushed by the communist terrorist  shortly after, while travelling along Pasir Puteh Road near by an electrical substation. It was estimated to be twelve strong communist bandits and was subjected to a very heavy automatic and rifle fire.

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L/Cpl. Jagir Singh

During the first burst of fire , the driver of the Police jeep was killed instantly. Jagir Singh and one other constable were wounded subsequently. His sten gun jammed after firing a few bursts , but he continued the battle with the rifle of the wounded constable.

Jagir Singh discovered that their police jeep was at a halt because its petrol tank had been punctured by a shell. Jagir Singh ran back along the road for about half a mile and telephoned to Ipoh for assistance .He returned to the scene of the ambush immediately without waiting for the relief party and continued fighting.

Although wounded, Jagir Singh displayed greatest courage and initiative and rallied the remaining personnel to fight back though outnumbered by the enemy.

The other constable were rushed to the hospital. He died from serious wounds, which he sustained during the ambush,  shortly after. Jagir Singh and another  constable were wounded in the incident. 

Lance Corporal Jagir Singh No.5193  s/o Kopor Singh of the Federation of Malaya Police force were awarded the Colonial Police Medal for Gallantry. Lance Corporal Jagir Singh represented the Federation of Malaya Contingent to England to participate in the H.M. Queen's Coronation in 1953.

Leadership & Determination

December 24th, 1950, Raub, Pahang.

On the Eve of Christmas, 1950, Lance Corporal Gurdial Singh  led ten special constables from the jungle squad unit on an exhausting trek to conduct a routine patrols near a gold mine in Raub. After trekking in dense jungle, Lance Corporal Gurdial Singh and his men arrived near the electric power lines facing the Australian gold mine. He observed a party of about hundred armed men dressed exactly the same of the Gurkha unit, moving towards his position of ambush. 

Having already received instructions  much earlier ,that no military unit would be in commission in the vicinity of the ambush. Lance Corporal  Gurdial Singh suspected the approaching force were communist terrorist  and were able to position himself on a favourable location positioning himself from one team to another to coordinate the attack. Undaunted by these overwhelming odds, he decided to attack.

Relying on the element of surprise, he then directed his troops to allowed them to approach within 15 yards before allowing fire to be opened on them.

Though outnumbered by the enemy, he handled a difficult and dangerous situation by exposing himself repeatedly to danger in order to inspire his men with such skill, courage and determination that a force ten times larger as his own was withdrawn without inflicting any injuries to his small opposing squad. 

The enemy, surprised by this act of valour, fled in disorder. In that memorable encounter the Jungle Squad managed to  killed one terrorist and wounding ten more. Several packs of Bren and Sten-gun magazines and a pistol were found near the ambushed area. 

The leadership and fortitude of the jungle squad leader L/Cpl Gurdial Singh  proved pivotal as he kept the men fighting against overwhelming odds. Lance Corporal Gurdial Singh No.3442 of the Federation of Malaya Police Force were awarded the Colonial Police Medal for Gallantry.

In August 1957 the Federation of Malaya was granted independence and the insurrection lost its rationale as a war of colonial liberation. Many guerrillas gave up their fight. 

In 1960 the Emergency was declared to be over. During the 12 years of the Emergency, Police casualties including Regular Police ,Special Constables and Auxiliary Police totaled 2947, of whom 1346 were killed by terrorist.

The blood spilled by those who rallied to defend the country (then called Malaya) against communist terrorist will never be forgotten. They fought with unquestioning valour and loyalty, winning some of the highest bravery awards. We must be gratitude to those who died that so we could live in freedom.

"Their sacrifice is our heritage; our remembrance is their reward.        

               Remembrance and hope for a peaceful future".

Acknowledgments:
I am thankful to Professor (Dr.) Manjit Singh Sidhu , the brother in law of Late Inspector Kartar Singh of Jungle squad and Lt. Col. (Rtd.) Gurmit Singh s/o Wariam Singh, son in law of late L/Cpl. Jagir Singh .

[email protected]

Useful Resources:~

Royal Malaysian Police Museum.

https://www.sikhnet.com/news/malaya-land-which-i-spilt-my-blood-too

https://www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php/The_Tiger_is_dead

https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/38464/page/6137

https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/39033/page/4921

https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/39170/page/1300

Communist Terrorism in Malaya . The Emergency : Issued by the Department of Information Federation of Malaya.

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